State Rep. Aaron Bernstine is taking issue with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association's decision to allow fall high school sports to start, but not to allow fans in the stands.
The PIAA Board of Directors made the decision Wednesday on a 29-3 vote, but conceded that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and the state departments of education and health ultimately will have the final say in whether sports will be played this fall.
In making the announcement, PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi said that spectators initially will not be permitted to attend school athletic events this fall, as per the approved guidelines.
On Friday, Bernstine (R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence) sent a letter to Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine and the PIAA Board of Directors, encouraging them to permit fans at the sporting events.
“I am disappointed the PIAA failed to attempt to develop innovative and individualized plans to allow parents and families to safely watch and support their student-athletes at school sporting events this fall," Bernstine said in a statement. "This blanket decision by the board of directors will have negative impacts on our student athletes’ well-being and self-esteem that will carry on through academics and adulthood.
"School sports are a short-lived opportunity for our youth, and a proud time for thousands of Pennsylvania parents, families and local communities. Our student-athletes deserve to have their parents cheering them on in the stands and sidelines, and parents deserve the short chance to see their children compete and grow.”